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Schumacher prepares for new season

16 January 2004

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO – Even with six titles under his belt, more money in the bank than he could ever dream of spending and a happy family life, world champion Michael Schumacher has no intention of taking it easy on the track this season.

Speaking to the press after the traditional Ferrari meeting in the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, the German said that he was looking forward to this season.

“I want the title again,” he said, adding that he expected it to be another tight battle though. “But I am not scared of a tight battle.”

The 35-year-old ruled out ever driving for the same team as his younger brother Ralf. “Just like the Klitschko brothers have said they will never box against each other, we will never drive in the same car.

“And we will also never box against each other,” he said with a grin.

Asked if he could ever imagine having a female driver as his team mate, Schumacher said he would have no problems, “if my wife allows it.”

The reason for not wanting to have his brother in the same team is that there will always have to be a winner and a loser if they are in the same team. “Neither of us want that,” he said.

Schumacher believes that Ralf has a bright future in the sport. “I hope that this will not be his year though. However, if he wins the title, it will at least stay in the family.

“But if I don’t win the season opener in Melbourne, I would want my team mate Rubens Barrichello to win.

“I am not surprised that the team extended his contract till 2006. it was the only thing to do. The atmosphere in the team is terrific and everything is going really well.”

This, he said, have only made him more motivated for the new season. Although he has six titles and 70 victories under his belt, he remains as hungry for success as he was when he first raced Formula One in 1991.

“I never considered not continuing. I need a steering wheel and four tyres. I have no problems motivating myself, as I really love what I am doing.”

He said he would only consider retiring once he was no longer able to compete with his team mate. “I have to be competitive.”

Although he is already by far the most experienced driver, he is even now considering racing beyond 2005. “If I feel as good in 2006 as I do now, that is a distinct possibility.”


Subject: German news